The Mountainsmith Ghost has become one of my favorite packs because of its ingenious panel-loading design. I like to carry my tent on the outside using the straps on the bottom of the pack; however, one annoyance was that the straps were a little short (even to accommodate the diminutive Big Agnes SL2) so it was a bit of a struggle to make it fit.
In order to lengthen the straps, I came up with a complicated design that involved cutting off some of the existing buckles and sewing new straps in. Since I'm not exactly Betsy Ross, I decided to let the pros at the Denver REI repair dept. do it. As usual, I expected to show them the design, give them the pack, and be told it would be ready in a week.
The woman at the repair desk looked at my design and said, "Well, I could do this and you'd get your pack back in about a week. Or, I could show you a way to do it without sewing and you could walk out with your pack today. Let me think about this for a second..." After a few minutes of digging through bins of buckles and straps, she put together a really simple system using the existing hardware on the pack and some extra webbing. I was pleasantly surprised that she actually took the time to put some thought into what I wanted to do rather than the typical "order taking" you get at most places. And what she came up with was perfect! Now, the bottom straps have plenty of room to carry my tent (end even a bear canister). For only $2.00, I couldn't be happier with the outcome. Is there a way that customers can nominate the employee of the month?
The best part is that I didn't have to make any permanent modifications that might devalue the pack in order accomplish what I wanted. Nice!